Urban Mobility for Energy Transition 2018

A very fruitful and effective series of interviews, able to capture and keep the attention of the public, having torn truth from the interviewees, took place on October 3rd, 2018 during the “Urban Mobility for Energy Transition” event for EV ENERGY project, hosted by Barcelona Chamber of Commerce in Casa LLotja de Mar, Barcelona,

EV ENERGY supports local and regional authorities to define and implement innovative policies favouring sustainable energy and electric mobility systems in urban areas. It works with experienced cities and regions, transferring the most appropriate policies and good practices. The project focuses on three thematic areas: Renewable energies, Electric mobility, Infrastructures (Smart grids, ICT, etc.). This project is under Interreg Europe Programme, co-financed by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Its duration is from from January 2017 to 30 June 2021.

The aforementioned interviews involved several representatives from EV ENERGY partner regions: Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Province of Flevoland, Anci Lazio, Kaunas University of Technology, Stockolm County Council and Green IT Amsterdam.

The interview on the evolution of the mobility transition in Rome is reported below:

When studying the Rome region numbers we can see a small amount of EV chargers in the city. Can you maybe explain what the main reasons for this situation are?
And how is this to be changed?

The reasons for this situation in Lazio region are basically 3:

1) as for the public sector, in the past, the Lazio Region and its Municipalities have not seriously developed incentives and programming policies aimed at favoring electric mobility;

2) as for the private sector, the most interested stakeholder in Italy in e-infrastructures is ENEL Spa. In Rome, in contrast to what happens in other Italian cities, the electric distribution network is not owned by ENEL spa but by ACEA spa, in house company of the City of Rome. ACEA has never activated an investment plan for e-mobility, which limited ENEL’s investments in Rome.

3) the other municipalities of Lazio region represent considerably small dimensions from a demographic point of view (the second city has only about 100,000 inhabitants) and, for this reason, they have not been able to attract private investments.

However, last April 2018, at the same time as the Formula E sporting event, the City of Rome approved the Plan for Electric Mobility, which represents a suitable planning’s instrument to attract private investments for the implementation of e-infrastructures. In fact. due to such Plan and Formula E, new charging points have been installed in Rome and further 700 charging points will be installed in the next two years (2019-2020).

In the same way, the Lazio Region is currently drawing up a plan for the development of the charging stations on the entire regional territory.

Rome has already a considerable amount of electric vehicles, but still little in comparison to other European capitals.

We know that often there is a chicken-egg problem in between infrastructure development and electric vehicles growth rate. Do you think that this applies to Rome?

It should be noted that in 2017 there were 2,864 vehicles only as compared to 4,910 e-vehicles in 2018 (NB: just full e-vehicles, not Hybrid) which means an increase of 71% in just one year. It is true, the figure is still low but the increase means that electric mobility is developing quickly and “lost time” will be recovered in the coming years.

The main strategy adopted in Rome to break the bad habit of citizens and replace it with a good one in favor of e-mobility has certainly been so far the development of electric car sharing. which is having a great success in Rome.

So you would say that the electric mobility will experience a very fast growth in Rome and Lazio region, now that the start is made?

Yes, I would say so. Current trends sees big companies transforming their fleets into full electric, which is a very good indicator as well, even if it still goes slowly.

Who are the main involved stakeholders in the roll-out of the charging infrastructure in Rome and Lazio region?
The main one is definitely ENEL SpA. But, the Universities, the Lazio Municipalities, the Lazio Region, the operators of electric car sharing and electric scooter sharing are currently acting. Recently, the taxi cooperatives are also investing in e-vehicles through the incentives of the City of Rome. It is of course relevant in Italy too the investment drive in e-mobility innovation of the major automotive brands such as Toyota, Renault-Nissan

What are you learning on the EV & ENERGY topics during project realisation?
The importance of a coordinated strategy for local policies, incentives and active involvement of private stakeholders. In terms of stakeholder coordination I definitly think that the public administration should set up an ad hoc coordination hub for this, which is something that works in other regions already.

What do you get from partners experiences, which is applicable in the Rome county/city?
Anci Lazio is proposing to the Managing Authority of Lazio region a solution which takes inspiration from the combination of two good practices of EV Energy project, respectively from Flevoland, Netherlands, and Kaunas, Lithuania. It is about the PowerParking  project at Lelystad Airport in the Dutch region of Flevoland. It is a pilot project in which large carparks become renewable energy plants, connected with a smart grid to EV chargers and the adjacent buildings.

And it is about the ESCO model (Energy Service Company) from Kaunas, Lithuania, as a new instrument which supports the long-term use of improved energy management. In fact, ESCO can offer attractive financial conditions and offer up to a five year contract that would include installation of EV chargers, its operation and maintenance.

Are you shaping new policies at county and or city level?
At city level the aforementioned Plan for Electric Mobility of the City of Rome.ANCI Lazio and EUR are working to improve the Regional Law on interchange nodes, by introducing integrated systems of e-infrastructures powered by renewable energy to be produced on site.

How does this relate to the EV ENERGY partner cities / regions?
The proposed amendment to the Regional Law on interchange nodes aims to integrate the innovative concept of the interchange parking in Flevoland with the one produced by the Lithuanian ESCO concerning the on-site energy management system.

Claudio Bordi

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